The Difference a Floatplane Makes
What would you do without immediate access to a hospital or medical care? Most of us are lucky enough to have never had to consider this situation—but imagine that this was your reality. What would you do in an emergency?
That reality sunk in the other day for Kyle Kennedy, who has helped us through the years with building, repairing, and often inspecting our aircraft serving in Papua New Guinea. Just a few weeks ago, Kyle was helping Mark service our aircraft when a call came through Samaritan Aviation’s cell phone. Kyle had been using it to do business, and he still had it in his pocket. Thinking it was a business call, Kyle answered and immediately realized it wasn’t business, but a call requesting an emergency flight. The man on the other end was desperately asking for a life flight for his daughter. Kyle instantly felt the anguish rising in his heart even before he spoke the words in the local language, “Sir, the plane is in repair and will be down for another two days, it probably won’t be able to fly until after Monday.” The man understood and with sadness in his voice slowly responded,
“If my daughter is still alive, I will call you on Tuesday. If I do not call you, you will know that she has passed.”
The man did not call on Tuesday.
All of us at Samaritan Aviation understand the importance of having not just one, but two aircraft available for emergency services along the Sepik river. It is a sad reality: when we don’t fly, people die.
The plane did, in fact, begin flying that following Tuesday. The first flight was a life flight to pick up a young man, the victim of a machete attack. While our hearts break for those we aren’t able to save, we are grateful each time we are able to help someone. We pray for this young man’s survival and that through our hospital ministry, he will come to know the love of Christ.
If you would like to donate to our operations in Papua New Guinea, you can do so here:
In 2015, a gentleman and his grandson walked up to our booth at the Oshkosh air show and struck up a conversation. After expressing interest in the difference we were making in Papua New Guinea, the man gave us his contact information. His name was Paul Forehand. Bryan Yeager, our COO, stayed in contact with him over the next several months. Paul was so moved by what we did that he wanted to find a way to help. Paul worked with his men’s group and lead pastor, and together they made it their goal to raise enough money each month to fill our fuel tank!
During that same week back in 2015, Regina Cranston was at our second booth at Oshkosh in the International Association of Missionary Aviation (IAMA) tent and met Fred and Lydia Holcomb. Throughout the week, several of our team members were able to connect with them, and Fred and Lydia began to feel called to work with us in PNG! This year they were officially welcomed onto our team and are currently fundraising to move their family overseas.
What a blessing it is to be back at Oshkosh three years later with both Paul and the Holcomb family on our team!